APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday April 28, 2013
Quote of the day:
"At one point, I realized that I was reading it with my mouth hanging open and my hand over my mouth in instinctive astonishment."
--Haaretz's Uri Misgav writes about how the report on the suicide of Mossad agent Ben Zygier, 'Prisoner X', proves the Israeli legal system collaborated with the state and the defense establishment in hiding the truth about a grave incident, for reasons that had nothing to do with national security.**
Front Page News:
- Obama warns: Chemical weapons will change the game rules
- Wave of fires across country: Heatwave to continue over next few days
- Lapid won't raise retirement age for women, in opposition to position of Treasury and Bank of Israel
- Dankner returned from Argentina with a new agreement with Alstein - Will he succeed in keeping IDB Holdings in his hands
- Following Haaretz expose - (journalist) Emmanuel Rosen to take leave until investigation of testimonies on (sexual) misconduct
- End to crisis in Italy: Unity government to be formed
- Bennet and Lapid advancing national referendum (on any peace deal)
- Lower the height of the flames - Because of heatwave and many fires, firefighters calling on public to have small bonfires for Lag B'Omer holiday
- Obama's dilemma - US President: Assad crossed red line when he used chemical weapons, but military operation is still far
- Emmanuel Rosen affair: The testimonies and the doubts
- Double pride - Two Israel medals in judo
- In opposition to agreement (with Yesh Atid): Likud opposes limiting number of yeshiva students to be exempted from military service (Hebrew)
- Under pressure from Likud and Habayit Hayehudi: Vote on changing law for electing chief rabbis was postponed
- Lag B'Omer: Bonfires and forest fires (Hebrew)
- Appears that Lapid will establish committee to examine state royalties from natural resources in private hands (Hebrew)
- Commentator Emanuel Rozen went on leave until investigation of claims by female journalists against him for (sexual) harassment (Hebrew)
- Following flow of natural gas: Fitch affirmed Israel's credit rating to A
- Purple to success - Sons who chose to follow the tradition and wear - like their fathers - a purple beret. 30 years to the founding of the Givati Brigade
- Pressure on Obama to act in Syria
- US preparing, but does not want to // Boaz Bismouth
- Burning Lag B'Omer: Bonfires and forest fires
- Complained on Facebook of abuse - and his parents were arrested
- Following testimonies: Emmanuel Rozen put on leave
- Today: Government to discuss reform in car industry; Goal: To lower prices by 20%
- Education Minister to hold discussion to examine vacation calendar of students
US President Barack Obama's quandary over Syria, Iranian drones near Israel and the sexual harassment scandal of a prominent journalist were today's top stories. Also in the news, Yedioth reported on a possible national referendum law for peace deals and Israel Hayom quotes a local diplomat who claims Obama 'understands' that Abbas doesn't want peace.
Israel is ambivalent about whether the US should intervene in Syria and Israeli commentators think Obama won't make the decision for some time. Obama said Friday In meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah, "We cannot stand by and permit the systematic use of weapons like chemical weapons on civilian populations." But Yedioth's US correspondent Orly Azoulay writes that "all the lines have been crossed in Syria: legal, moral, and human. The red has turned into a dark crimson." But, writes Azoulay "no one in the administration can say for certain that Assad is the worst: the Syrian opposition is made up of radical Islamic groups connected to Al-Qaeda that aspire to establishing a radical Islamic state, and the last thing Obama wants to do is to overthrow a dictator to get a terrorist tyrant." According to an article in the New York Times and quoted by Ynet, Israel views Obama's response to Assad's use of chemical weapons against rebels and civilians as an important test of Obama's reliability regarding statements he had made on the Iran nuclear issue. Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said that inaction on Syrian chemical arms sends a message to Iran. On Saturday, Syria denied use of chemical weapons and said the 'US was in hysteria' over rebel losses. Russia took the Syrian regime's side with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov warning that reports of Syria chemical arms use should not be used as a 'pretext' for an attack.
The drone that entered Israel's territorial air space last Thursday was likely Iranian, and not from Hezbollah, Israelis now say. Israel believes that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah's patrons, were behind the launch of the drone downed by the IAF. Haaretz's Amos Harel writes: "Apart from the unsettled score with Israel, it seems that Iran wished to openly demonstrate its potential ability to damage essential facilities in Israel, in a time when they are feeling the pressure of international sanctions surrounding their nuclear program, and when international cooperation is being considered in a move against its ally in Syria, Bashar Assad." According to a report by a Lebanese paper, the US asked for Israeli restraint since no damage was caused and in order not to divert attention away from help the fight against Assad's regime.
Pro-settler Habayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett is trying to get his ally, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, on board to pass a cabinet decision making a national referendum obligatory over a peace deal with the Palestinians. Lapid said he would first consult with his party members. Bennett has been trying since the government's inception to convince ministers not to support a two-state solution.
Based on a single anonymous source, Israel Hayom wrote a front page story claiming that "Obama understands that Abbas doesn't want a peace deal."The senior Israeli diplomatic official also claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to make significant progress toward a peace deal, but "everybody knows" that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas won't allow this.
- IDF soldiers will not face criminal charges as Gaza flotilla deal to become Turkish law - Agreement will become binding international treaty once approved by Turkish government and parliament; Turkish media reports Israel will also compensate 70 Turkish citizens injured aboard the Mavi Marmara. (Haaretz)
- Watch: IDF soldier lashes out at activists - Activists film reserve soldier on south Mount Hebron as he curses, threatens them; 'incident does not reflect behavior expected of security forces, proper measures will be taken.' (VIDEO Ynet)
- IDF breaks up Palestinian march toward West Bank settlement (outpost) - The procession by Palestinians from Deir Jareer followed charges that Israeli settlers had attacked them twice this past week. Last week, settlers torched the locals' cars and planted an Israeli flag on a village church. IDF Spokesman says army is investigating the events leading up to the march. (Haaretz)
- Israeli friends of Palestinian village - Volunteers from Jerusalem, called on Facebook Friends of al-Walaja, help residents of al-Walaja create a better life for themselves. Resident: It helps our children distinguish between our oppressors and allies. (NTD TV, Ynet)
- Israel strikes targets in Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire - Israel Air Force craft struck two sites in southern Gaza following rocket fire Saturday night. IDF Spokesman: There will be no return to the situation that existed before Pillar of Defense. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Qatari prince likely to visit Israel - The representative of the royal family will arrive to launch the Israeli-Palestinian Center for Business Arbitration in Jerusalem, said Gen. (res.) Oren Shahor, head of Israel Chamber of Commerce. "Qatar is interested in investing hundreds of millions of dollars in developing the hi-tech field and sees Israel as a strategic source for gaining knowledge and technology." (Israel Hayom, p. 3)
- Abbas calls Hamas to start talks on unity government - Palestinian president to start talks with rival factions to form unity government following Fayyad's resignation; urges Hamas 'to cooperate.' (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Amnesty calls for release of Palestinian writer in Israeli detention - Ahmed Qatamesh's administrative detention was recently extended by four months; Shin Bet says he is a senior activist in a terrorist organization, despite his claims that he has not been involved with the PLO for over ten years. (Haaretz)
- Israeli-Arab activists set out in motorcade to protest anti-women violence - Two motorized processions will pass through Arab towns and villages in southern and northern Israel, and meet for a joint demonstration to protest violence; organizers: We refuse to legitimize murder of women. (Haaretz)
- African migrants still scaling security fence on Israel-Egypt border - Fence has reduced the number of African migrants entering the country to the point where defense and interior ministry officials expected it would eventually stop them entirely. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- Egypt arrests 8 Palestinian tunnel smugglers - Security forces raided a smuggling tunnel in the Rafah area, arresting the men and seizing a truck carrying 22 liters of fuel, a fuel pump, and a hose. (Maan)
- Gaza parliament to approve new penal code on drugs - Gaza-based members of the Palestinian Legislative Council are to hold a series of sessions to ratify a new penal code on drugs. (Maan)
- Gazans turn wood into charcoal - Resident of Hamas-ruled territory first started producing charcoal using trees IDF cut down to deprive terrorists of cover when they fire rockets. (Agencies, Ynet)
- In photos: Death of a dream; Gaza airport lies in ruins - Once boasting former US President Bill Clinton as a guest, the colorful debris of the airport now stands as a symbol of Gaza's broken connection to the world, and Palestinian statehood. (PHOTOS Maan)
- U.S. academic nonprofit votes in favor of boycotting Israeli academia - Association for Asian American Studies passed vote last week during its annual conference; Ex-AAAS president Rajini Srikanth said boycott applies only to institutions, not individuals. (JTA, Haaretz)
- 'Lapid is disgracing the Knesset' - Finance Minister Yair Lapid faces criticism for giving a major economic speech outside the Knesset to avoid MKs. Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein: Lapid is severely harming the Knesset's image. United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni: Heckling is an integral part of the democratic process. (Israel Hayom)
- Danon: What about drafting Israeli Arabs? Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon says Committee for the Advancement of an Equal Burden and Finance Minister Yair Lapid are singling out ultra-Orthodox population while ignoring Israeli Arabs. "Lapid's hate for the haredim while ignoring Israeli Arabs is pure hypocrisy," says Danon. (Israel Hayom)
- Boston bomber's mother urged him to join Palestinians - Phone calls between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother tapped by Russian authorities reveal discussions of jihad in 2011. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Canada terror plot suspect argued he was a stateless Palestinian to avoid deportation - Raed Jaser, who was arrested in Canada for an alleged plot to derail a train, was served a deportation order in 2004 after being convicted on various charges; a court deferred the warrant after Jaser claimed he was 'Palestinian by blood' and had no rights in the UAE, where he was born. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Bulgaria blows up bus in Burgas bombing reenactment - The experiment, staged at a police compound, aimed to provide more details about the attack. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- British report: Arabs will lose war - The Guardian publishes declassified documents shedding light on struggle for State of Israel. 'The Jewish public in Israel supports terrorism,' 1946 document says. (Ynet)
- Turkey honors Israeli company - Adam Elktronik, based in GOSB Teknopark built by Israeli industrialist Stef Wertheimer, receives prize for innovative project from Turkish industry minister. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Erdogan: Drink yogurt, not alcohol - Speaking at an alcohol policy conference, Turkey's PM calls on countrymen to give up alcohol in favor of traditional yogurt drink - Ayren. (Ynet)
- EasyJet promotes tourism to Tel Aviv - European low-cost airline to market Israeli metropolis abroad as top destination for young people. Company plans to double number of passengers on Tel Aviv-London route, add flights to Paris, Rome and Berlin. (Ynet)
Hope, tight security for Tunisia's Jewish pilgrimage
Arab Spring unrest threatens pilgrimage to Africa's oldest synagogue in Tunisia. However, hope and serious security measures facilitate inspiring three-day visit to 2500 year-old place of worship that began Friday. (Agencies, Ynet)
Dropping everything for Israel
Bryan hates his job, David wants to be buried in Jerusalem, and Hurricane Sandy opened Shlomo's eyes. A moment before they land at Ben-Gurion Airport, American Jews explain why they decided to leave their entire life behind and make aliyah. (Ynet)
Don't pressure America (Haaretz Editorial) Obama does not want to be sucked into a Syrian war whose outcome and impacts cannot be predicted.
We are almost alone (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) US will only go to war for its own interests. Against Iran and Syria, Israel almost on its own.
In the Russians' compound (Amir Oren, Haaretz) Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is not, for all intents and purposes, the only defendant whose trial is being heard in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, located in the city's Russian Compound.
Between Washington and Tehran: Ankara (Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom) If Washington decides to act militarily against Tehran, it will want to ensure that Turkey doesn't make things difficult for the U.S. as it did in Iraq.
Time to be single-minded (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) The end of the world? Why? Arabs and Jews already live together today, but discrimination, inequality, past tensions, racism, nationalism and mutual fear hinder relations between them.
Man bites dog (Richard Baehr, Israel Hayom) If The New York Times salutes the new graduate school that partners Cornell University with Israel's Technion, and fails to mention "the occupation," there is a good bet that it realizes that this new school may give a big boost to the city.
Letting the genie out of the bottle (Reuven Pedatzur, Haaretz) Israel is closely following U.S. activity regarding Syria after the regime there crossed a red line. If the U.S. fails to act, it will be hard for Israel to believe that it will follow through on its commitment to thwart Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
A poet and a president (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) Shimon Peres is the all-time visionary, who on days of celebration or mourning outdoes himself. From his sea of poetic phrases we draw out two pearls.
US reluctantly readying for Syria (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) If the U.S. is going to go to war again over weapons of mass destruction, there had better be clear evidence this time.
**By numbers: The details, and mystery of Prisoner X's death (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) The state's report on Ben Zygier's suicide is chilling not just because it describes a searing family tragedy, but because it reveals the systematic violation of a young man's human rights and the great lengths the state has gone to in order to cover up its apparent misdoings.
Bar Kokhba -- a necessary myth (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Opinions on the Bar Kokhba revolt tend to be a function of scholars' views of the contemporary Arab-Israeli conflict since the Six-Day War.
Hagel's dubious gifts: What's the fit between Israel's military needs and the U.S. arms sale? (Yiftah S. Shapir, Haaretz) Is the $10 billion military equipment sale to Israel announced during Hagel's visit - which includes various elderly planes and new models that have been snubbed by the U.S.'s own Marine Corps - the best the IDF could make?
Unsavory affairs in Lieberman case leave bad taste (Ido Baum, Haaretz) MK Avigdor Lieberman's ongoing trial has opened a crack into the Foreign Ministry's internal politics. The interest-based relationships that shape Israel's diplomatic facade is far from savory.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.